On Sunday a bunch of us hopped on the train and then the tube to get to Hurlingham Park in West London for our usual trip to finals day at Polo in the Park. I know I've written about finals day before, but I thought I'd post a few snaps from the weekend to share some of the simply fantastic street food we feasted on that you can find elsewhere around town outside of polo season, and the first jug of Pimm's of the season!
Obviously the first thing we did when we arrived was scope out all of the food tents to figure out who were the best bet. There has always been half decent street food at the event, but this year was the first year they had a dedicated street food area with some old favourites from both street vendors and restaurants like Bubbledogs, Maze Grill and Le Bun, and some new discoveries for me. We are all familiar with the Meringue Girls, and how amazing did their pop up selling meringues and brownies look?
After much deliberation we went for the decedent sounding Steak and Lobster Rolls from the HIX pop up, where they had the restaurant chefs cooking up a storm in the back. Yes that is seafood mayo, horseradish mayo, strips of steak, juicy chunks of lobster, roe and shredded lettuce you see in that brioche bun. I regret also not ordering their white crab and mayo laden fries. Soon the boys joined us, and we also got a gander at the classic crouton heavy macaroni and cheese that seemed to be going down a storm from The Mac Factory, and the incredibly juicy smoked pork sandwiches from Smokestak.
Once we'd lunched, we grabbed a jug of Pimm's from the Pimm's bus and found seats in the stands ready for the first match: New York vs. Dubai. Now, it is not often I will willingly watch sport, in person or on television. Literally the only annual televised sporting event I get excited about is The Boat Race (I used to be a rower, cox and volunteer coach), but I love to watch a good polo match, and on the smaller pitch than normal at Hurlingham games are a very tense, very fast paced, edge of your seat affair. And then there is always the chance that the ball will come flying at you and you'll have to try and catch it!
By the end of the first game we were all out of Pimm's, so those of us who did not have to drive later in the day went in hunt of more drinks. Fentimans had put together a beautiful garden in the corner of the park with a tent serving up cocktails based on their drinks. I'm already a fan of the bottled cocktail they sell in Waitrose (their rose lemonade blended with Bloom Gin), so I went for a summer blend of rose lemonade, a generous shot of tequila and fresh mint. This would not be for you if you are not big on rose, and if you're not a tequila drinker (you really get the flavour of it), but if like me you tick both of these boxes, I urge you to mix one of these up for yourself at home (perhaps muddling the mint more than they did to get the flavour!)
Alternatively to the other horse related event in our social calendar for the year (Point to Point, which is basically where we dress up in Barbours and wellies to watch hunt horses race in sometimes a quite cold and muddy field!), the polo is a chance for us to dress up. I'd been saving this Boden dress I snagged last year for the occasion, and my trusty Tory Burch sandals have never let me down (I have two pairs!) As far as shop-ables are concerned, I can't recommend my Aspinals of London tote enough!
We'd had enough of the heat by the time we reached the final so we headed home early, so our last match of the day was the most tense, both because of the nail biting polo played, but because the home team were on the field: London vs. Buenos Aires. In Europe we're at such a disadvantage because we produce so fewer polo players than some South American countries, so it is really gratifying to see the home side matching the foreigners consistently thought the game. It all ended in a draw, as it would not have been fair to make the poor horses keep on going in the heat to break the tie!
Before heading home, it was time to check out one last street food vendor. It was the first time I'd encountered Born & Raised, a London based street food outfit who were dishing out the most perfect single serving pizzas on a sourdough base, which in my case was topped with wonderfully rich and punchy pieces of London's own Cobble Lane Cured pepperoni. Honestly this had to be the best street food pizza I've had in London, so if you see them popping up anywhere, be sure to grab a slice (or four). You can find out where they're next going to be appearing on their twitter feed.
We always love Polo in the Park as a great day out in the sunshine (we always seem to get lucky with the weather!) for a few drinks, some great food, and most importantly to watch some really awesome polo. I'd put in in your diary for next June, as it really is the perfect way to kick off the summer.